It's finally Friday! It's felt like this week has dragged on - probably because I've been looking forward to having a 3-day weekend! Here's some miscellaneous happenings from this week that deserve a mention on the blog:

1. I bought a new puzzle book. Yes, I know I'm addicted to puzzle books. No, I don't think that's really a problem. My newest purchase was The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers by The Grabarchuk Family (affiliate link). This is the same family that edited and contributed puzzles to the Puzzle Box Volumes 1-3 (affiliate link) that I rave about all the time on this blog. If you need even further proof of this family's awesomeness, check out their new Strimko Puzzle Books (affiliate link)!

This puzzle book is turning out to be just as awesome as the others. There are 567 puzzles in the book, and I only paid $5.83 on Amazon for a used copy with free shipping. That's just over 1 cent per puzzle which I think counts as a super-awesome bargain. If you are a geometry teacher, you should definitely check out this book because there are probably at least 100 puzzles that tie directly to various geometry standards.

My husband and I had lunch duty together all week. On Thursday, I brought my new puzzle book with me and we enjoyed a fun half-hour of puzzling and discussing which puzzles we could use with our students. Shaun tried his hand at a geometric puzzle that involved making a net of a cube which he plans to use in his unit on 3D shapes.

2. We had some fun playing Fraction Capture in Math Concepts. We haven't reviewed improper fractions yet, so we'll get another chance to play with an increased level of strategy after that.

3. Shaun and I spent Valentine's evening at church. We teach a class of 4th graders at church on Wednesday nights. Since it was Valentine's Day we were supposed to create some sort of Valentine's Day Craft. I'm a last minute planner and didn't have time to grab any special supplies, so we took some yarn, colored paper, and tape to make heart mobiles. My sweet husband made this one for me.

I learned that seven fourth graders can make quite a mess while doing arts and crafts.

I also learned that cutting out hearts is a skill that my 4th graders have not exactly mastered yet. Our Wonky Game (affiliate link) made the perfect introductory activity to our lesson over the parable of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand.

4. Some of my classes had some unexpected downtime this week since they managed to get themselves ahead of my other classes. I pulled out part of my game stash to keep them busy.

We enjoyed some games of Absolute Zero (affiliate link). The creator of this game reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like a free copy in exchange for a review on my blog. I added it to the games table this week to see what students though. A full review is in the works, soon, though! This card game gives students practice adding positive and negative integers with the goal of landing a hand that equals zero. One of my students said "Tell the creator that it's an okay game for a math game." It must have been more than just okay because the same student insisted on playing the same game a second time this week!

We also played some Izzi (affiliate link). I like to think of Izzi as Panda Squares on Steroids.

Otrio was probably the biggest hit of all the games I put out this week. If Izzi is Panda Squares on steroids, Otrio is Tic-Tac-Toe on steroids. I received my copy of Otrio as a gift, but I've been told the best/cheapest place to pick it up is Target.

This week's Silhouettes Puzzle from the puzzle table also got some attention during free time.

The last game that captivated my students was Tantrix (affiliate link). I taught students to play the solitaire version of the game where you flip over the first three tiles and make a loop. Then, you flip over the fourth tile and make a new loop. It gets harder and harder as you go. I loved watching students go from thinking "This is impossible!" to "Oooh...wait...I got it!"

5. My chemistry students requested that we do something fun for Valentine's Day. We haven't done a lab in a while, so I put together a Conversation Hearts Lab. I saw that you could do the standard Dancing Raisins activity with conversation hearts, so I decided to try it out. It turns out I should have just stuck with raisins.

Some of my students were able to get their conversation hearts to dance in their cup of soda, but most of the hearts just sunk or floated. :( They still enjoyed themselves, though!

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